New York City’s Puerto Rican Day Parade float participation shrank by half this year over the controversy related to the parade’s inclusion of convicted FALN terrorist Oscar López Rivera, The New York Post reports.
According to the Post, just 25 of the 50 floats are expected to move down 5th Avenue on Sunday but parade organizers claim that local community organizations and artists will fill any large gaps in the street.
“The parade is just as big as any other years. We just don’t have as many floats, that’s all,” parade board vice chair Ululy Rafael Martinez told the Post. Additionally, the group of 1,000 supporters of López Rivera are scheduled to appear at the parade.
Although the parade previously stated that the FALN leader was no longer being honored after a mass exodus of sponsors pulled out over that acknowledgement, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito claimed Rivera was still being honored and Lopez Rivera’s op-ed in the New York Daily News only said that he wanted to “bestow” the National Freedom Hero award given to him by the parade’s organizers to the people.
“His op-ed was very clear,” she said. “People just have to read his words. His words speak for themselves,” but Mark Viverito would not say how he would be honored. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, though, told reporters that Lopez Rivera was not receiving any award.
“I’m just not going dwell on this . . . He declined [the honor]. That’s all there is to know,” de Blasio told reporters Thursday when asked about Mark-Viverito’s statements.
However, a number of key New York politicians and officials do not plan to be at the parade as they have in the past, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, and NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neil.